One of the many great strengths of RCEL is that we are able to react rapidly to various situations around the world and during 2017 we were called upon to support veterans and widows who suffered as a result of hailstones and flooding in Uganda and severe flooding in Bangladesh and Sierra Leone. A total of 49 veterans and widows were affected in Bangladesh and I was able to authorise an immediate grant of £200 each in an effort to ease their suffering.


Ghana - British DA, Lt Col Ben Richards with LCpl Joshua Ennin (RWAFF) and Controller Welfare attending the Battle of Myohaung Drumhead service and parade in Takoradi.
The production of the Annual Report each year is always a time for reflection.  When I was appointed Chairman of SCOWP in 2012, RCEL supported over 12,700 ex-servicemen, women and widows; in 2016 I can report that we assisted 9,835, a reduction of more than 22% over a four year period.  It is very sad to see so many of our beneficiaries passing away but of course it is not unexpected.



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PAKISTAN - INDIA (NAGALAND) - BANGLADESH - GAMBIA - UGANDA - LESOTHO - BOTSWANA - MALTA - CYPRUS - LEBANON

PAKISTAN



There are currently 152 eligible veterans and 810 widows in Pakistan.  The majority of the veterans who are supported by the Commonwealth Ex Services Trust (CEST, based in Karachi) do not live in the Sindh Province and the security situation makes it difficult to get out and visit them.

INDIA (NAGALAND)



This was the first visit to Nagaland by RCEL staff.  HRH The Duke of York, our Grand President, visited in 2012. The Private Secretary to HRH The Duke of York put RCEL in contact with the Kohima Education Society (KES) which is based in Kohima.





BANGLADESH



The total number of veterans listed is at the time of the visit was 133 and 363 widows, totalling 496.  This is a significant reduction since the last visit when the numbers were over 700 veterans and widows.  However, not all veterans and widows are supported.



GAMBIA


The Secretary General was accompanied throughout the tour by Mr Toby Case, the RCEL Commonwealth Council Member for Gambia, who travelled at his own expense. 






UGANDA



Our original Member Organisation in Uganda was formed in 1957 and was called the Uganda Legion.  Uganda became independent in 1962 but the Legion disappeared during the Civil War (1980s) and the Uganda Ex-Servicemen’s Association (UESA) was formed in February 1987.



LESOTHO


For the last 14 years the ex-servicemen and widows of the Basotho Legion of BESL (Lesotho) have been looked after by Lt Col Jurie vd Merwe.  He was the previous President of the South African Legion.








BOTSWANA



The Botswana Veterans League (BVL) membership of RCEL was formally ratified at the Kuala Lumpur Conference in 2016.  The RCEL Secretary General had visited the country in November 2015 to establish the need for assistance, the number of veterans and a payment system for eligible veterans.

MALTA



The RBL Malta is the Malta branch of the Royal British Legion.  The ex-service men and women were mostly locally enlisted in the Royal Navy, The Royal Air Force and The Royal Malta Artillery.  In addition a number of Maltese joined the British Armed Forces directly in the UK and there are some British Military ex-patriates living on the Island.




CYPRUS



The Cyprus Veterans’ Association  (CVA) World War II was founded in1965, on Cyprus’s independence. The Association consists of ex-service men and women belonging to all groups within the Cypriot community. 


LEBANON



There is no Member Organisation in the Lebanon as such.  The British Embassy have provided wonderful support, since March 1996, to the eligible veterans and widows who have served the Crown and are eligible for support from RCEL.








SOUTH AFRICA - SWAZILAND - ZAMBIA AND MALAWI - BURMA - NEW DELHI - BANGALORE - CHENNAI - NIGERIA - GHANA - SIERRA LEONE

ZIMBABWE   -   BOTSWANA  -   SOUTH AFRICA  -   TANZANIA  -   BELIZE  -   TRINIDAD  -   GUYANA   -   BURMA  -   CAMEROON


PAKISTAN   -   BANGLADESH   -   KENYA   -   SEYCHELLES   -   MAURITIUS   -   MALAYSIA   -   SRI LANKA   -   ST LUCIA   -   ANTIGUA   -   GRENADA


SINGAPORE   -   CYPRUS  -   BURMA  -   UGANDA  -   LESOTHO  -   MALAWI


ZAMBIA, ZIMBABWE, SOUTH AFRICA   -   MONTSERRAT, TRINIDAD & TOBAGO, GUYANA  -   INDIA: NEW DELHI, BANGALORE & CHENNAI  -  GAMBIA


MALAYSIA & SRI LANKA   -   TANZANIA   -   BELIZE, CAYMAN ISLANDS & JAMAICA  -  GHANA, NIGERIA & SIERRA LEONE  -  SOMALILAND

RCEL - Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League - Registered Charity No. 1174874 - Haig House, 199 Borough High Street, London SE1 1AA, United Kingdom - Telephone +44 (0)20 3207 2413

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